Monday, October 18, 2010

Zelda's Fancy Hat: Lazy Daisies and Orange Lavender

From the manner in which a woman draws her thread at every stitch of her needlework, any other woman can surmise her thoughts. –Honore de Balzac

I admit it. I'm a dirty rotten horse pattern thief. Before I sent the pattern for Zelda's Fancy Hat to JaiCi after she won it in my giveaway, I made a copy of it so I could make one too. It was too cute and I couldn't resist. Crabapple Hill, I'll be sending you a check for $8 with my sincerest apologies {but I'm not paying for shipping}.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I totally swiped the copyrighted image of the hat from your site with my nifty snipping tool so I could post a picture of the finished project as I was confessing my crime. I wanted evidence to support my desperate actions.

Have I mentioned before that I really like hand work? Sewing the binding on a quilt is one of my favorite parts for two reasons. First, it means that all the hard work is about to pay off in a big way with a finished project. And second, I enjoy it because the hand stitching is very soothing to me. There is something about the rhythm and feel of it that I just love. I also like to include, if possible, a bit of handwork on each of my quilts; a small little embroidered something, somewhere in there. It adds a bit more of me to the quilt.

For the past two weeks, I have worked solely on hand stitching projects. The majority of that time was spent on the embroidered 'chore' blocks for my Woman's Work quilt. After I finished those, I wasn't ready to put my needle and embroidery floss away, so I worked on Zelda's Hat for a bit. I got all my pieces cut out and then got down to business the fun stuff.

I picked the orange 'lavender' to work on first because I love to do French knots. It took me forever to figure them out and now that I've got it down and don't have to look at an instruction sheet to do each one, I wanted to do a few more. This block fit the bill. The black fabric is left over from the Stephenie Meyer quilt. I love the swirls in it. It was so perfect for that quilt. I also used a bit of it in one of the blocks I did in the New Moon Charity Quilt and again in one of the blocks in the Eclipse Give-to-Win quilt. [Editor's Note: I realize that my Twilight obsession is a little over-the-top. It keeps popping up in random places, but hey, I'm a package deal :wink:.] It is a great black-on-black fabric. I bought everything the shop had and tried to find more on-line, but wasn't able to find any anywhere. I'm down to the last little bits of it. This is some of the extra backing fabric that was cut off after the quilting was done. It is hard to get a good photograph of it; I tweaked it a bit so you could see the swirls, which makes the orange 'lavender' look a bit washed out.

I was on a roll, so I knocked out a few lazy daisies too. Here's the a hat brim section with pretty crazy orange lazy daisies.

And part of the hat with more lazy daisies in a variety of bright and cheerful colors.

The pattern calls for Weeks Dye Works floss, but at $2.10 a skein, I decided to use their DMC conversion chart and pull colors from my considerable floss collection, which came in at 25₵ a skein. They list three {or sometimes two or occasionaly four} DMC colors as substitutes for each of their hand-dyed colors. They suggested using short lengths of each color to perhaps replicate the variation in color of their hand-dyed floss, or maybe choosing just one of the colors listed as a substitute. But with such pretty colors I couldn't bear to leave any of the colors out {even when there were four}, so I decided to use one strand of each of the three colors called for {the pattern calls for two strands, but I figured three strands wouldn't hurt} and make a pseudo-variegated thread. That way I wouldn't have to sacrifice any of the pretty colors. The pattern calls for 10 Weeks Dye Works colors, which translates to 29 DMC colors. I had all but three of the colors. You do the math. I knew my Floss Collection would be useful.

The pattern also instructs you to sew the whole hat together, back it with muslin {which is doesn't have you get enough of; you need ¾ of a yard not ½ a yard} and then do the embroidery. I've sort of developed my own system for embroidery, though. It's a system that I like, so I'm doing Zelda's Hat my own way. I don't use embroidery hoops; I put a piece of woven fusible interfacing on the back and then do the embroidery work. I leave a little bit of extra fabric in the seam allowance and then trim the block down when I've finished. I'm careful about not pulling my stitches too tight and the interfacing helps to prevent shrinkage, so my blocks turn out nicely even without a hoop. I'm going to do all the embroidery on these blocks and then I'll sew them together and back them with muslin when I've finished.

Considering that I discovered the mistake in yardage on the pattern with the muslin and the extra thought I've put into how best to make this; deciding how to use the pretty DMC floss to its best advantage and fiddling with the flawed assembly process, perhaps I'll send a pattern correction and an invoice for $17.00 to Crabapple Hill. That should make us just about even.


Marg said...

Love your embroidery Elizabeth, very neat and pretty.
I enjoy sewing the binding by hand too.

Just JaiCi's Crafts said...

I can't wait to see it finished :)

Paulette said...

Well, that hat is just wickedly cool! Your embroidery looks wonderful on it!

Unknown said...

I have seen this pattern at my LQS many times. I have picked it up a few times and walked around with it and then finally put it back on the hanger. I love hand work and would love to do this, but right now I have a long list of things to do for other people. I think Crabapple patterns are beautiful! I hope you post more photos of the way you embroider. I think it might be something I would like to try. I hate hoops.

Wanda said...

I am so happy to see that Zelda hat in the works! So fun! Love your embroidery.

Shay said...

Pretty embroidery Elizabeth.

Of course you have to test the pattern ...

Barb said...

You have wonderful hand the hat!